So far, the tempo of my blog has been somewhat upbeat, and I have taken a comical swipe at some of the symptoms I seem to be experiencing all of a sudden as my perimenopausal years kick in. Not to worry, there are more up my sleeve and how I feel about them. (As a taster I will want to talk about last week and my first aura migraine!) But today it is not so much physical symptoms that I wanted to ponder about but emotional symptoms of loneliness or as I am calling it feeling ,“Invisible”. Is it linked to emotions we experience in the perimenopause or would we feel them regardless I wonder as the years tick by? Anyway, let me explain about this one that is bothering me so much lately, and one that frustrates me, when really, we are in our prime with so much to give and offer. I want to celebrate and embrace the perimenopausal years but then there is…Invisibility!
So many times, I have read that women over a certain age feel they are becoming invisible which until probably last year, I couldn’t understand. These women often seemed outgoing, friendly, part of a family, employed and well, in my eyes, far from invisible. And then as last year went on I began to understand. I think it`s a very individual thing in how we feel invisible. Maybe it`s in our relationships, maybe it`s in our opinions (what do we know after all in out forties and fifties ?? Well actually rather a lot as we all know 😉!), Maybe it`s in our looks or how we dress (that dreadful age of not wanting to look like mutton, nor wanting to look like an old fart either or the dreaded “beige”!), whichever way we feel it, it feels lonely.
For me it has been a shock to realise that to the outside world, as a woman who wants to work and has worked hard to get to where I am, studying to get a BA Degree whilst my youngest was growing up, I have become invisible. The world outside my safe cosy home changed, as did I, unwittingly to any employer to be, as those 7 years passed. Cover letter after cover letter and resume after resume has not seen me get one foot in the door anywhere to say “Look at me! Here I am! This is what I have to offer!” (Well that isn`t quite how bold I would be, but you get the idea!). Eighteen months has passed since my graduation and I have put it all to one side for a while as it is soul destroying. As one friend put it “You can keep applying, keep getting despondent until something comes along unexpectedly (Like when! ) and until then you can be the best damn, wife, mother , friend etc that you can be or you can sulk! “One of the best pieces of advice I had.
Don`t get me wrong I didn’t give up easily. I spoke to careers advisors at the Uni and they had to admit that without experience in my field and having been at home for some years my options were limited and if I hear “sell your life skills! “one more time I will scream. Employers aren`t interested in life skills. As one person quipped to me, they want a 25-year-old with 20 years’ experience. It`s tough out there in on-line application world. I have done some volunteering and also applied to all the supermarkets etc. Anything to get me out amongst others and back to work.
So here I find myself, 48 years old with a husband, three girls aged 27, 24 and 11 and at home, far more employable at 34 with no qualification ( like a degree) but lots of work experience. Take a break for a few years to have my youngest and most gorgeous daughter who I would never be without, and life passed me by and I have emerged the other side a little lost with not much direction and well, feeling just that topic I started with,invisible.
If I were to tell my friends and my family that I felt this way, I am sure they would laugh. I don`t look invisible. I am loud, chatty, dress up, go out, still to bars may I add! What a strumpet at 48 I hear you cry !! I love a good time with friends and family, but I would also love to work, to be ME, not just a mum or a wife…just to be ME, outside on my own and showing off all those things I learned, whilst studying my backside off, alongside those bloody life skills!!
I know I am not alone, women my age are the most unemployable and most likely to be made redundant, I think the exact age range is 48-55 years old, but I guess in my own head I am not the woman that the world so readily stereotype. I am bubbly me who doesn`t want to be set aside as too old and inexperienced to have a go. Would I employ me though is another question I sometimes ask myself? Yes, if I met me but probably wouldn`t even make interview stage on paper.
Well what a moan that was. I hope it wasn`t too depressing and other readers can resonate. But I would like to end on a positive note for perimenopausal me. I read an article recently that I shall post a link to about how poorly work places are adapted to women during the perimenopause and menopause and how much it affects them. Enjoy, it`s a good link from Meg Mathews. She has a great blog on the menopause.
So, to end, at least that is not a worry for me like so many others and I can enjoy my fourth hot flush of the day in peace 😊